Make tracks. Day 51
Only being in Russia for a few days, we have mastered the St Petersburg metro. With tickets in hand, Josh and I check out of our apartment, double check the map and head to the station. Today is the day we travel to Moscow.
There are two trains to travel from St Petersburg to Moscow, the first is the newest acquisition, the Sapsan express. Travel time is less than four hours sitting in a luxurious carriage with plenty of room and a drinks service. The other is one of the oldest trains you’ve ever seen. With a rickety eight hour journey where you’re tucked together with many others, numerous stops and a bathroom you just would never enter. When travelling on a budget, there are just some sacrifices you have to make.
We arrive at the station with plenty of time. Match numbers and symbols on the schedule board and stand where we think the train will be. Josh panics. What if we miss the train? What if we are standing in the wrong gate? Never fear, I’ll just ask someone. I get snobbed by many Russians, no English. Ah a ticket booth, surely they will know where we need to be. A window is closed in my face and many hands shoo me away as I don’t need a ticket. Great! Feeling deflated I return to Josh, who finds a lady that points to our ticket and our train and says yes.
Ticket reads: seat. We board the train and walk to our number. We look at each other confused. The room is two double bunks where two people have already made up there beds for the journey. We see our numbers, we are both on the top. With limited luggage room Josh struggles to heave the bags onto one of the top bunks, watching us the other passenger points to the other top bunk and jumps up. Thank god! We now have a ‘seat’ on the bottom that we both squeeze into. This is going to be a long eight hours.
We pass the time by watching movies on our iPods, listening to some much needed music and playing iPhone games like candy crush and pop quizzes. The occasional town outside giving our eyes a rest from our screens. The countryside is really beautiful, quite different than the Zurich to Munich trip we took a week ago. Towns are small and houses look like quaint little cottages in the distance. Six hours pass quite quickly and our two room mates wake, put on their coats and hop off at the next stop. Finally! A carriage to ourselves! We hear laughter in the hall and look out, two older Russian babushkas are headed our way. They point to their ticket, and then to the bottom bunks. Great, time to get up to our seat. We climb up and are twisted within each other trying to get comfortable. The women below seem to have robbed a shopping centre. Their luggage explodes with perfumes and knick knacks, finally they look like they are ready to settle in. Lady number one seemed to be having difficulty talking off her shoe. Lady number two assists her. Laughter ensues. Both ladies are hysterical as they try to pull, push, jiggle and heave off the shoe. Two men show up. They also pull, push, jiggle and heave until finally her foot is free. We laugh with them, and then at them. Then we laugh at each other. Looking at how uncomfortable we both look being shoved up and into a corner. Then I think we start laughing at the situation. This is travel. When there are so many stories to look back on and laugh, remembering all the good and not so good times you share together.
Finally we hear Moscow being called. We enter the metro, take a few wrong trains and then land at our hotel. With the sound of the rain outside we slip into bed. Even though we didn’t achieve much today, we both feel a rest is needed. And what better way than with some English tv. A few comedies later and we fall deep into our dreams.
Look out Moscow, we have arrived.
Jess and Josh